Short Story Excerpts

Published June 2, 2013 by JoAnna Senger

I have been reading these excerpts on the radio lately, so I would like to share them with you.

Excerpt: “Pink Bathmat”
I can’t remember how old I am any more. Flatness does that to you.
I slip through the vertical plane without a ripple, still marveling at my new way of being, my ground-friendly presence, my rollable, barely controllable, drapable dimensions.
No one notices me. No surprise since Old-I didn’t notice me, either. Only my then-color caught Old-I’s old eye.
“Here,” Aunty-person Cindy had said, “why don’t you take this old pink bathmat for your new apartment? Don’t know why I’ve never used it.” She had looked at Me-to-be with the merciless eye of a hanging judge in the high court of decor. “Not a very pretty shade of pink, really, but it should be better than no bathmat at all.”
Oh, yes. Much better than nothing, although to you, New-me is just a magenta, mock-mohairy little scrap of human convenience, beneath your notice, beneath your toes. So, go ahead and step on me. Wipe your feet on me. Wiggle your toes and luxuriate in my soft clinging. Just remember to take your shoes off. Barefoot is best. Barefoot, we meet here on the floor.

Excerpt “His Family Cabin”
I won’t be able to write much longer. The changes are coming faster, and my fingers move the pen in rough scratches. My hand-paws, so clumsy with the pen, can now move with a speed unknown to the fastest human. I like them better this way, but I must finish before they find me.
By the time they get here, I will be long gone. No doubt they will be pack hunters, always the two-legged pack hunters, efficient enough but too uninspired to change directions without a caucus.
I remember when this floor was bare of bones, when windows held back the outdoor air, and the furniture sat upright on the floor. I remember these things, but not why they mattered.
It will be safer further up in the hills. Did I ever really take comfort here in this big wooden box, feel safe here? Confinement is never safe. Only when I can come and go as I will, as I must, only then am I safe. Eventually the pack hunters will find this wooden box they call a cabin, and read what I have written.
Let them read, and wonder, and count the bones.

Excerpt: “The Lunchroom”
Background: Bentley , a recent and very wealthy widow, wants to get a job but meets with one humiliating rejection after another. Finally, as a last resort, she volunteers at a nearby municipality. In this scene, she meets The Boss for the first time.

“It has to be your own free will, you see. You’ve already spent enough human-years as a mother/wife/grandmother. We belong to another reality and believe me, it lasts a lot longer than the one you know, car crash or no car crash. Look at me, Bentley, LOOK AT ME!”
Against her better judgment, she let her eyes meet his, and he smiled.
If she had had any doubt about joining his whatever-it-was, the pointed teeth and narrow tongue eradicated it. “Count me out, Boss.” She pushed her chair away from the table and ran for the lunchroom door. Or where it should have been.
There it was, over to the left. She changed direction and ran to the left only to confront a solid wall. Frantic, she whirled around and saw the door again, her only way out. Between her and the portal to freedom sat The Boss, laughing with head thrown back, tongue protruding.
“It won’t do, Bentley, won’t do at all. You’ll leave here either one of us or not at all, and I suggest that you have a sip of coffee, just a sip, and the tiniest bit of muffin. It won’t take any more than that.” He pushed the table in her direction, just an inch, and she sat down in her chair with a thud that traveled all the way up her spine.
Something about the vibrations in her spine touched off a hot spot of rage. She felt she was losing that self-control so dear to her, the self-control that allowed her to keep her voice light and charming when her friends were too busy for lunch, when people ever so gracefully prevented her from talking about Logan, when recruiters looked at her as if she were part of the furniture.
Then she didn’t care. To hell with self-control. She screamed, “I’m getting out of here, you fat fart, and you better not try to stop me.” She shoved the table as hard as she could into his generous abdomen and headed for the door now on the wall behind him. Talk about quitting…she was done with The Boss, this place, and even CyberCube. Screw them all.
She took a few steps, gathering speed, eyes on the door, and sat back in her chair…hard. She hadn’t moved more than an inch.
“Last chance,” The Boss pushed the cup of coffee a little closer. “Think it over. If you think your so-called friends and acquaintances have been difficult so far, you just wait. They’ll either use you or discard you…they’ll try to do both. You have no friends. Your family will desert you.
“For once in your silly little life, get smart.”

I hope that these intrigue you!


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